La Jetee is a French feature in the science fiction genre, by Chris Marker. Chris Marker was a French writer, photographer, multimedia artist and documentary film director. It is a film set in a post-apocalyptic future, where a man is used for experiments in time travel. He is sent back in time and falls in love with a woman who once saw on a pier. At the end of the experiment he is offered a chance to journey into the future, but refuses and asks to be sent back in time to the past where he can live with the woman which he loves.
La Jetee is different to a lot of films, because almost the
whole film is constructed entirely from photographs. Despite the lack of moving
imagery, the short feature is very engaging, thought provoking, and captures an
audience just as much as any other motion picture would. It succeeds in being
consistent enough to keep the viewer interested in the story even though there
is not a lot going on in terms of the still pictures. However, in some parts
the audio is very muffled, perhaps because it is originally a French speaker
and you cannot hear what is being said clearly. It is easy to get lost in the
plot if you do not pay attention to certain parts.
The photographs are in black and white and are very
contrasting, depressing and moody looking. They create an atmosphere because of
the gloomy scenes they show, of poorly lit underground scenes, destruction, war,
pain, and the strong contrasting of the white against black makes it seem more
sombre and bleak.
“The soundtrack's texture is similarly sparse, and the fluid
montage leads the viewer into the sensation of watching moving images. Until,
that is, an extraordinary epiphany when an image genuinely does move.” (Geoff
Andrew explains the soundtrack as being ‘sparse’, which is
true in the sense that there is not a lot of soundtrack, but nonetheless it is
not sparse in the sense of the vast atmosphere it creates. The soundtrack is
mainly thumping beats, which sound a lot like footsteps getting closer and the
getting further away, but then also transforms into sounds which resemble heart
beats. Andrew also describes the fluidity of the images which immerse us is in
the story, and after a while you do not realise you are watching a series of
photographs, as it all seems to move together as one.
Figure 2: Film Still
“Composed only of black and white stills and a moody
narration (by Jean Négroni), "La Jetée" is a surprising proof of the
power of cinematic narrative even when there are no literal movements on
screen.” (Ivan D, 2012)
D also describes La Jetee as a moody film, and tells us of
how his experience watching the film was so powerful even though there were no
movements on screen. It really shows that simplicity sometimes is all you need
to convey a brilliant story and plot, and you do not even need every detail of
movement and action to make a film have a big impact.
Figure 3: Film Still
“Very haunting and moody, fragmented to a fault but
deliberatly so, La Jetée is still to this date one of the most fascinating
sci-fi movies ever made either by the way it is presented to us or by the
cautionary tale it's telling, never forgetting the humanitarian value that is
inherent to the genre.” (Francisco, 2011)
Francisco describes this film as fragmented, which it is
because there are still images being shown in a slideshow like manner to create
a film. It is deliberate because you seem to forget about the lack of movement,
as you start to imagine how the scene unfolds and pans out yourself, instead of
having it shown to you through somebody else’s idea.
Figure 4: Film still
|Figure 2: Film Still|
|Figure 3: Film Still|
D also describes La Jetee as a moody film, and tells us of how his experience watching the film was so powerful even though there were no movements on screen. It really shows that simplicity sometimes is all you need to convey a brilliant story and plot, and you do not even need every detail of movement and action to make a film have a big impact.
|Figure 4: Film still|
(Figure 3) Allfordeadtime.files.wordpress.com, (2016). [online] Available at: https://allfordeadtime.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/fetch.jpg [Accessed 5 Jan. 2016].